Portugal faces two problems:
Its birth rate is extremely low, which leads to the recommendation of innovative policies that stimulate births; the establishment of facilities geared towards child care is indispensible.
The population is ageing, which leads towards finding social remedies for caring for the aged, in an age in which the families are no longer capable (financial means, sufficient dwelling space, available time) to care for their elders; the State will not be able to satisfy all the needs that the Family cannot cope with.
This Project seeks to design a new instrument for the support of the Families, both for the care of children and for the care of the elderly – the Family Clubs.
If the families will not be able to sustain the children, the youth and the elderly at home, attended during the entire day, then it is preferable to have them conveyed to a unit that is close, either from a geographical point of view, or from an affective one.
It is more convenient to entrust a child or an elderly person to a technical team located within the building of residence, thus avoiding expensive and arduous travel. And, for those who are object of the care, it is more suitable to spend their free time in the area of their habitual residence than to be forced to go to an unknown environment.
On the other hand, the services provided by the technical teams can be complemented by the help given by healthy elders or by individuals lacking professional obligations who belong to the resident families, thus enhancing the interaction among generations, stimulating the solidarity among families living in the same building, creating useful and rewarding occupations.
The objective is not to replace the social function of the State; however, it might be worthwhile to complement it through the efforts of interested private individuals.
Those who acquire the autonomous fractions would also acquire the right to use the “family club,” as a parcel of the “common area” of the building, for the above mentioned objectives. Each buyer would disburse a little more at the moment of acquisition – the value of the area destined to the “family club;” but, by doing this, the buyers would be paying for the prospect of benefitting, sooner or later, from an effective social support for the members of their household.
To attain these objectives, the Project will study the revision of the legislation on urban residential buildings in order to assure that buildings or sets of buildings belonging to urban developments, exceeding a certain dimension, possess a percentage of their area dedicated to the social support of the families of the owners of the condominium – of their children, their parents, their grandparents.
The administration of the “family club” would be attributed to the condominium; or to the association of condominiums when, given the size and number of the buildings, the area belonged to more than one.
The choice of the actual use of the “family club” – child care, leisure time, elderly care, mixed use – would be defined through the deliberation of the condominium members, according to the needs of the families, in each period, depending on their having to care for small children or elderly relatives, etc..
(B) The existence of these “family clubs” would lead to the creation of teams of social technicians, composed of child educators, psychologists, nurses, etc., depending on the needs of each unit. Similarly, the “family clubs” could become the clients of small businesses specializing in catering or other services.
The induction of these activities would be spontaneous, imposed be the functioning family support units. In other words: the induction of these activities would not require and stimulation from the State, nor would it cost any amount to the public finances.
These activities would promote economic and employment development, without burdening the State.